Jenn Misko’s review published on Letterboxd:
Yes! This was great. I learned quite a bit about this chapter of history I only knew some cursory facts about, and now I have much more of a feeling about it. I love movies for that.
This movie didn't directly say this at me out loud (which I liked) but I got really choked up just thinking about how this stuff was happening barely 100 years after slavery ended. And it's only been like 150 years now!! That is not very long!!!!
I got choked up a lot really, but the only thing that actually made my face wet was the last postscript, about Deborah and Fred Hampton Jr continuing this legacy today.
Cool to see what I'm pretty confident I recognized as footage from the Varda doc cut in there.
I would like very much to know exactly what the Lucas Bros' role was in the writing of this film. They're 2 of 4 "story by" credits, and only the other 2 guys got "screenplay by" credits. I did not suspect this was in Keith and Kenny's skill set, as a heavily, densely-written, historical political drama...and maybe it's not? Maybe they were just brought in as experts on how to craft the narrative arc of a screenplay in general? Or maybe it is now, I really don't know, very interested to learn what exactly they did contribute??
I'm not so sure about the dissonant jazz score. Felt like it struck some weird tonal notes? But I was psyched to see so many people whose paths I've crossed show up in the music credits: music supervisor Zach Cowie, Ludwig as something weird like "associate music producer", and an additional music credit for Quelle Chris!! (I've seen all 3 of those guys perform live and have met some of them!)
Speaking of people I vaguely know, very proud of my Internet Acquaintance Phil for his PA credit on this (shot in Cleveland extra cool)!!!
Interesting that this story barely even intersects with the events we just saw in The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Fully support both Lakeith and Daniel getting Oscar noms and very very psyched for Daniel's win (even if he WAS too old to play Fred Hampton and I do think that makes a difference, still on balance that's a victory worth celebrating), but confused and a little frustrated about the weird category fraud?? So this film had no lead I guess??? This film's description here on LB calls it "the story of Fred Hampton" (the "Black Messiah"), but while watching it it sure did seem to me like really it was the story of the informant who betrayed him (the "Judas") - felt strongly to me like Lakeith was the first lead on this thing. But in a context of first and second leads. Both the characters are referenced in the dang title even. Not two guys supporting a blank void!!!
There were like 20 bonus features on this HBO Max page and I noted that fact down with an "I gotta get to those later" and no further notes, so maybe I never did get to them later?? And this was one of those only up for 30 days so it's too late now to try and return to catch 'em, at least for a while now. Dang it
***This was the first film I watched after moving my tv over to my new studio apartment!! Specifically chose something special for the occasion rather than just Some Crap. It's a whole new world here now with this much faster internet, all to myself, and the space all to myself to make whatever noise at whatever hours I please. Now my biggest home viewing issue is that my tv faces my window (couldn't make any other setup config work) and I haven't figured out how to avoid daytime glare, which has led to my home viewing schedule kind of being ruled by the rising/setting of the sun. Like I said, a whole new world!***